Banned Books Week – Celebrating Your Freedom

Since 1982, the last week in September has been designated by the American Library Association (ALA) as Banned Books Week; this year it takes place from September 26-October 3.

Banned Books Week is meant to celebrate your freedom to choose which materials you want to read. It is seen by many as an extension of everyone’s right to free speech. Many view stifling creative freedom of expression in the same light as stifling political freedom of expression. They see banning books as a step in the direction of banning free speech.

Each year the ALA celebrates your freedom to choose what you read by highlighting many of the books in the U.S. that have been challenged or banned. When a book is challenged, there is an attempt to remove it from a library or classroom curriculum. When a book is banned, it actually is removed.

Concerned citizens and citizen groups have made attempts to ban certain books from the classroom and from libraries, however librarians and educators have fought back to keep these books on the shelves and in the hands of students. The majority of book challenges are made because people see the book as too sexually explicit, as having too much offensive language, or as being unsuitable for age groups.

Here are some books that have been challenged and/or banned:

*The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
*Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
*Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
*The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein
*Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally
*Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
*1984 by George Orwell
*Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
*Animal Farm by George Orwell
*Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
*An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
*Rabbit, Run by John Updike (a local author from Reading, Pa.)

For more information about Banned Books Week, go to www.ala.org and click on the “Issues and Advocacy” link on the left. Then click on “Banned and Challenged Books.” Also, check back tomorrow and next week for information about books that were banned. Tomorrow’s blog will focus on classics that have been banned. Following blogs will focus on books that were banned in 2008-2009. Some of these are more modern books, while others are classics that continue to be challenged.

*Information on Banned Books Week taken from www.ala.org.

-CS

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